Agenda item



The Committee considered the report of the Head of Planning and Development.


In presenting his report, the Principal Planning Officer advised the Committee that:


·  To clarify the position regarding the sequential approach and Maidstone East, the Director of Regeneration and Place had confirmed that it would be 3/5 years before a developer could take forward a scheme.  With the planning process on top of this, the likelihood of a site being available for a retailer was at least 5/7 years away which did not fit with the needs of the applicant.


·  In paragraph 7.04 of the report, reference was made to paragraph 24 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  This should refer to paragraph 86 of the amended NPPF.


·  He was aware that a lobbying letter had been sent to Members that afternoon expressing concern about the recommendation set out in the report.  The majority of the issues had been raised already and addressed in the report, but to clarify, the application was not contrary to Local Policy.  Whilst the Local Plan did seek to direct such retail uses to the town centre, Policy DM16 allowed for out of town proposals where certain criteria are met, namely that there are no other sites available or suitable and the impact is acceptable, which was considered to be the case in this instance.


·  Secondly, it was stated that the recent increase in floor space at the Next store had not been taken into account.  This additional 402m2 of floorspace was considered to have an unperceivable impact and so did not affect the recommendation.


The Head of Planning and Development advised the Committee that Maidstone East was the Council’s primary retail allocation and re-affirmed the position that the Director of Regeneration and Place had confirmed that it would be 3/5 years before a developer could take forward a scheme and so the site was not currently available.


Mr Davy of One Maidstone (Town Centre Management body) and Capital and Regional (Operator of The Mall Shopping Centre), an objector, and Mr Berendji, for the applicant, addressed the meeting.


RESOLVED:  That subject to:


(a)  The prior completion of a legal agreement in such terms as the Head of Legal Partnership may advise to provide for the Heads of Terms set out in the report with a preference for the proposed contribution for public art provision in the town centre to be spent on the public art element of the Maidstone East development if this scheme comes forward; the inclusion of events held within the town centre within the Town Centre Projects; and flexibility to allow the £300k to go towards any new Town Centre Projects which arise to help mitigate the impact of the development on the town centre; AND


(b)  The conditions set out in the report,


the Head of Planning and Development be given delegated powers to grant permission and to be able to settle, amend as necessary and add as necessary heads of terms and conditions in line with the matters set out in the recommendation and as resolved by the Planning Committee.


Voting:  12 – For  0 – Against  0 - Abstentions


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